Oracle Unveils Content Management Plans

Oracle today disclosed what it plans to do with Stellent, an enterprise content management (ECM) solution provider that Oracle acquired in December of last year for about $440 million in cash. Stellent's ECM technology is now integrated with Oracle Fusion Middleware, according to an announcement issued by Oracle.

Over the next 12 months, Oracle plans to issue new content management products, as well as its Enterprise Content Management Suite. The suite will combine three solutions that companies can use for content management, records management, and imaging and process management.

The integration of Stellent positions Oracle to better compete with current content management leaders, such as EMC, IBM and Open Text.

The ECM business has seen a burst of consolidation in just the last year. For instance, IBM's acquisition of FileNet and Open Text's acquisition of Hummingbird were finalized in October of 2006.

Microsoft offers ECM solutions through its SharePoint Server 2007 product line. Oracle used a Microsoft application for ECM in the past. However, with the Stellent acquisition, Oracle now will be able to compete with Microsoft SharePoint, in addition to IBM and Open Text, according to Kenneth Chin, research vice president at analyst firm Gartner.

Chin described the ECM market has having 11 percent growth in terms of software licensing and maintenance revenue. But the recent acquisitions also signal that the market is in its final stages of consolidation, he remarked.

"To be competitive in the ECM market, you really need to own a software stack," Chin explained. "Basically, you have to build up the stack and build out the application side, and Oracle is adding a lot of content management capabilities with the Stellent acquisition."

The Stellent integration effort was also facilitated by Stellent's use of service-oriented architecture (SOA).

"One of the reasons we've been able to integrate Stellent is because they used an SOA," said Greg Crider, Oracle's senior director of product marketing. He added that product architecture has a major impact on customers and developers and that SOA is key for the multiple management of silos.

"An SOA solution makes it easy to address business processes," Crider said. "Our focus is making it easier for customers to create value-added solutions using a SOA approach," he added.

Chin said that SOA is becoming more mainstream from a product development standpoint. However, it may still require some customization to link together applications from different products or vendors.

Oracle uses the term "hot-pluggable" to refer to the SOA aspect of its ECM solution. Crider said that Oracle's ECM provides the ability for customers to leverage their IT systems and can support third-party solutions (such as IBM's application server).

Oracle's content management solutions will be released over the next 12 months and will include the following five products: Universal Content Management, Universal Records Management, Information Rights Management, Imaging and Process Management, and Content Database Suite.

More than 6,000 customers currently use Oracle's content management solutions and more than 31,000 customers currently use Oracle Fusion Middleware, according to Oracle's announcement.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.